Levi Peters stepping away from football

Left, Levi Peters, redshirt junior linebacker, Campbell’s son, Rudy and Rudy’s grandmother listen as Matt Campbell introduces himself as ISU’s new head football coach on Nov. 30.

Ryan Young

ISU senior linebacker Levi Peters will call it a career and is stepping away from the ISU football team, he announced early Monday.

Peters has encountered numerous injuries in his time at Iowa State, citing that as the biggest reason for his early retirement. 

Peters, a former walk-on from Gilmore City, Iowa, was voted a team captain prior to the 2015 season. 

“I don’t know if anybody epitomizes what it means to be a Cyclone more than Levi Peters,” ISU coach Matt Campbell said in a statement Monday. “He gave everything he had for this program with a tenacity and work ethic matched by no one. He competed that way because he loved being a Cyclone. Levi is also a natural leader. That’s why he was voted a captain last year, and I noticed his leadership abilities in the short time I had coaching him.

“There is no doubt that Levi will be missed in the locker room, on the playing field and in the community. He’s a special kid who we want to maintain a part of our program.”

Peters started nine games last season, making 47 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks. Peters will graduate in the spring but said he hopes to stick around the program one more year to help out in any way he can.

Here is Peters’ full statement on his decision to step away from the game:

“When the season ended in November I started to think I didn’t have another year in me. I didn’t open up to many people about it. There were many times where it was really hard to walk out of practice because my feet were hurting so bad. When the new coaching staff came in, it was in my head, ‘Ok, I’m coming off of being a captain and I need to be here to help lead these guys through this transition.’ I needed to do everything I could to get everybody through this. The first talks I had with Coach (Matt) Campbell and Coach (Tyson) Veidt were about my health. They knew about my injuries. It’s been a constant battle my whole career. I was trying to get through workouts, but I was struggling. I talked a lot to our doctors and trainers and they were giving me advice. What they tell me is very important to me. I probably had this decision made a while ago, but we were just starting winter workouts, which is our hardest regimen. I didn’t want to say I was in too much pain to be doing this stuff anymore. I love my teammates so much. I love this coaching staff. I love what they are doing to change the culture here. I wanted to try to be a leader during winter workouts and help guys get through it. I wanted to be there participating with them and not just cheering them on, so I finished winter workouts with them and decided it was time to hang up the cleats. I told the team this morning about my decision. They are very important to me and I wanted them to know the reason I am here is for them. I’m going to stick around and do whatever I can to help this team. I will do anything for them, and I wanted them to know that. I need to come to terms with my decision and make a positive out of it. Coach Campbell wants me to stay around and help. Coaching was something I never thought I would do, but I am so close to these guys and I will do anything I can to help them. You never know, maybe I will find a love for coaching. To the Iowa State fan base, thank you so much. Your love and support is amazing.”